All's Not Lost at Muckenthaler

I read with pleasure the front page article concerning the Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Dec. 12 ("Muckenthaler's at a Loss" by Zan Dubin). The Muckenthaler facilities and grounds offer so many cultural activities to the north Orange County community that are worthy of newspaper space.

As president of the foundation's board of trustees, however, I would like to clarify some of the comments made in the article.

Contrary to the tone of the article, the Muckenthaler Foundation is in the strongest financial position it has been in in recent years. While the city of Fullerton's budget constraints have affected the center's operating budget notably, the board has been working toward self-sufficiency for some time. After almost 25 years of operating the Muckenthaler center on a year-to-year basis, the board of trustees spent two years developing a five-year long-range plan covering all aspects of the center, which was implemented in May, 1992. To guide our vision, a professional consultant has been retained to develop and implement a three-year endowment/capital fund-raising program that has raised more than $35,000 in a few weeks' time.

We have focused on increasing members and membership revenues, both of which are up this year. In an effort to broaden our volunteer leadership, we have added an advisory board of leading business and philanthropic individuals. Our fund-raising goal six months into our fiscal year is right on target--at the halfway point. A major thrust for corporate funding is now being undertaken--another first in the history of the Muckenthaler.

Exciting plans are underway for reopening our Theater on the Green in the summer of '93. Through a financial venture with the city of Fullerton, a permanent outdoor stage is nearing completion though it has taken longer than planned. In addition, a third fund-raising guild is being formed to join the Garden Guild and Center Circle, which also provide various social and cultural activities to the community. The Center Circle also operates the gift shop on the grounds so popular with citizens.

As the Muckenthaler moves into the '90s, it has been my privilege to serve as president this year, and along with the rest of the board, I expect the momentum we have generated in 1992 to result in the Muckenthaler Cultural Center's being one of the premier cultural focal points for Orange County.


President, Board of Trustees

Muckenthaler Cultural Center Foundation


Zan Dubin responds: Muckenthaler Cultural Center director Judith Peterson told The Times on Dec. 11 that the center canceled an exhibit slated for 1993--and would not schedule a replacement--because of deep cuts in city funding for the center and because the Muckenthaler Foundation raised only half its projected operating budget of $60,000 this year, focusing efforts instead on establishing an endowment. "In the past, the city was able to help the foundation when it couldn't raise money, but that's not possible now," Peterson said. Memberships are down, she said.

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